TABOR CITY –It took more than 24 hours, but West Bladen overcame both South Columbus and Mother Nature this week in the semifinals of the Dixie Pre-Majors’ Trojan Firecracker Conference Tournament, 7-1.
The win improves the Knights to 12-5 and put them in Thursday’s championship game against North Myrtle Beach.
West Bladen built a 5-1 lead over the Stallions on Tuesday before the rain came and suspended the contest in the middle of the fourth frame.
The Knights scored a run in the top of the first on an RBI single from Trent West, but South Columbus knotted the game in the home half of the inning.
After a scoreless second, West Bladen plated four runs in the third, with the highlights coming on an RBI double by Chandler Lennon, RBI double by Donald McCullum and RBI single from Ray Jones.
On Wednesday, Scott Bowen took the mound for the Knights and held South Columbus in check — with some defensive help — for the next four innings.
Meanwhile, West Bladen kept pressuring Stallion pitching. West doubled in the fifth, but was stranded at third. In the sixth, however, the Knights broke through to pad their lead. Jon Ashworth singled, a groundout moved him to second and a passed ball took him to third. Jarrett Williams bunted and South Columbus threw the ball away, allowing Ashworth to score and Williams to go to second. Moments later, Jeremy Hunt singled to score Williams for a 7-1 lead.
West Bladen threatened again in the seventh. With two outs, McCullum walked and singles by Jones and Ashworth sent McCullum racing for home — but a good throw got him at the plate.
West got the start on the hill for West Bladen and, through three innings on Tuesday, he scattered four Stallion hits, walked three and struck out three. Bowen earned the win for the Knights, scattering five hits over the final four innings and didn’t walk a batter.
“Scott threw strikes all night and that was a big key to his success,” said interim coach Jimmy Schultz, stepping in for Kim Cain, whose wife was preparing for surgery. “And the defense played well. Hunter Pait came in to play third Wednesday and it seemed like the entire defense tightened up. He made every play over there.”
At the plate, West was 2-for-2 with a double; Ashworth was 2-for-2 with a double; Lennon was 2-for-4 with a double; Jones was 2-for-4 with an RBI; Hunt had an RBI; McCullum had a double; and Williams had a double.